Green With Envy

May 16th, 2014

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
— John F. Kennedy

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Anyone have a good line on a yard pump? I’m looking for something that surely doesn’t exist, sort of like a reverse sprinkler. I want a device that sucks the water back off my lawn, into some pipes, then sends it along its merry way wherever water goes when it’s not welcome — the Southwest maybe.

I know it’s sacrilegious to moan about excess water during these days of extreme global climate change. But that’s sort of my point; any excess of any kind points to what scientists have proven long ago, we’re screwing around too much with Mother Earth.

A few years back, we had one of the warmest winters on record and our Redbud tree bloomed early. This year we had one of the coldest/snowiest and the tree is just now starting to pop. Incidentally, for a color blind person like me, it’s simply not fair to name a purple tree “Redbud.”

But this isn’t a climate change rant. Either you believe actual, factual, peer-reviewed science that basically 100% of all Nobel laureates adhere to, or you watch Fox “News.” The latest talking point, by the way, seems to be that scientists are now “bullying” the rest of us into believing their conspiratorial climate change hoax.

What I’m getting at is I’m sick and tired of Germany.

What? Germany?

Yeah, you read that right. A couple weeks ago — on a Sunday afternoon — Germany produced about 75 freaking percent of their country’s electricity needs with renewable energy, mainly solar and wind.

They don’t do it all the time, but during that one stretch I guess the sun and wind were at their peaks and electricity prices were negative instead of positive for the afternoon. By 2050 their country wants most all of their electricity generated this way. They must have so much sun in Germany.


Most of the US is far sunnier than Deutschland. As a matter of fact, Germany gets about as much sunshine as Alaska. I wrote about this at great length in a conservative business magazine and people enjoyed it.

Here’s the problem: Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Nuclear and Big Natural Gas companies — along with their cronies like The Koch Brothers — are doing their best to finance politicians and keep fossil and nuclear fuels burning bright. I know, shocking right? But here’s something you might not have known. There are states out there, like Arizona for instance, that have passed legislation saying that if you produce solar power, YOU HAVE TO PAY to sell it back to the coal/oil/nuclear companies.

The best way to increase the use of renewable energy is not to tax it, but to incentivize it. If you were penalized for being a better steward of the planet, you’d be less likely to do it. Imagine somebody charging you every time you used a public trash bin on the streets. Absurd.

Right now, so many people are getting in on the renewable energy credits in Germany that the government is looking at scaling back the programs. Can you imagine having that wealth, too much energy being generated?

For years I’ve wanted to put solar shingles on our roof. They last for decades and passively produce electricity even in gloomy Michigan winters. So far, the prices — even with governmental incentives — have been too prohibitive. That needs to change. That HAS to change. Who can afford to drop 20-30 thousand bucks on their roofs?

As wildfires rage in California and severe storms wreak havoc on the plains and the South, I feel a bit more grateful for this past winter of mere ice and snow. I’ll take a swampy lawn and a reluctant Spring any day.

Look, I have nothing against Germans. I just think we can do what they did, a lot better. I have nothing against Arizonans or Conservatives either. Renewable energy means renewable jobs too. That’s something we can all get behind. Like I wrote in that business magazine, if high schools and brew pubs are already doing it, so can the rest of us. America is a great country with amazing initiative and drive.

It wasn’t easy for Kermit to be green; hopefully it’ll soon be a lot easier for the rest of us.

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